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Announcer:  Debi started praying for her man by name, years before they even became friends. In this first part of the “Kids Love Story,” Mike knew nothing of it.

Debi Pearl:

Chapter One:  The Kid.

Chapter One:  Prelude. God needs our prayers. Moral to the story, God wants, no, He needs us to pray. A caution, don’t pray amiss. God did something totally different in my love story.

When I was just a child, he told me who I would marry. He didn’t tell my future husband, just skinny little me. Why?

God always has a very good reason. I believe it was because my future husband really needed someone to pray for him. I prayed.

Is there a young man that you have met in passing, that you thought would be a good husband? Have you been praying for him by name? Maybe Heaven waits on you.

Story one ‑‑ I had just turned 13 when I first saw him, and knew. Just simply knew, he was my man. If he had glanced over and been able to read my mind, he would have surely laughed. I almost laughed. It was preposterous to think that I, a scrawny little kid who had not even gone through puberty, would claim him.

The whole community had been talking about the famous young preacher who had been invited to speak at First Baptist Church’s teen retreat. He was all man, plain and simple. At least six foot four inches, and a dark jaw shadow where he shaved away his beard. My young mind quickly assessed him. He seemed bigger than life. A super, in charge man.

He was old, very old and way too big. Outweighing me by over 100 pounds. I guess that he must have been at least 21 years old. As far as I was concerned, he might as well have been 99. Anyone over 15 seemed ancient to me.

Anyways, God had never talked to me before. Why would he start now, and tell me this? I was just a kid. Does God talk to kids? Furthermore, I was not particularly spiritually minded, and not looking for a supernatural epiphany or vision. To top it all off, I was a Baptist and Baptists do not believe in gifts, words or knowledge or such.

Don’t misunderstand, I was very interested in the things of God. I liked to teach small children Bible stories. I enjoyed Church and was highly entertained when preachers preached on end times. But I was never given to deep, spiritual sensitivity. God had a big surprise for me that day. I discovered that God has his own sense of humor. He always does the unexpected.

But even to this day, over 46 years later, this remains the biggest unexpected of my entire life. This is how it happened. There was a serious storm warning that day. Tornadoes were expected. The church leaders almost decided to cancel the youth event due to the storm. Since the preacher was so important, they decided to take the chance.

I sat at a lodge with about 30 other teenagers, all of whom seemed years older and way cooler than me. The teenage girls were acting like they were afraid of the storm. Obviously, they thought their twittering would make them appear more femininely attractive. The boys were playing macho. “Bring it on. We can handle a silly old tornado.”

Looking around, I groaned with disgust. All this teenage nonsense was so stupid. Horses, mud fights, BB guns, forts and bikes were my life. I did not relate to the hormone‑driven game. I was half mad that my mom made me come to this dumb meeting. Why should I have to go to the retreat with a bunch of old snobs? It wasn’t even our church, so I didn’t know many of the kids there. It was clear they dismissed me as a snotty kid, not worthy of any notice.

Then the preacher and his little brother stood to play musical instruments and sing. They were pretty good, and I found myself enjoying it. I even thought the little brother was kind of cute, even if he was old. I figured him to be about 17. Finally, Michael, the big brother, began to preach.

I don’t remember if it happened at the beginning of his message, or in the middle, or maybe even towards the end. But some time while he was preaching the Gospel, God spoke to me. “He is the one you will marry.” “Whoa,” I thought. I don’t even need to wear a bra yet, and God is letting me know who I will marry?

I clearly remember thinking, “This is just too weird. He is too old, and I am just a little kid.” But God’s ways are not our ways. I am sure glad about that. To my knowledge, I had never even thought about God leading me. Now that I am old, I look back over the many years and I can count on my hands the number of times I think God did speak to me. Not many.

Anyways, like the child I was, I simply believed God. I was too young to realize what a monumental thing had just happened. Since he was going to be my husband, I figured I might as well deal with it, and not fuss too bad. Besides, it seemed like light years away so I had time to adjust.

At home that evening, I told my mom about how stupid the older teenagers had acted at the meeting due to the storm. Then I casually told her that God had spoken to me and told me that when I grew up, the preacher guy would be my husband. I handed her the flyer from the teen retreat. “Here’s the preacher man’s name.”

My mom acted like it was every‑day affair. I think she really believed me. She was a new Christian and I guess these things were as new to her as they were to me. She just said, “Well, you need to start praying for him. Being a preacher means he will need a lot of prayer.”

I didn’t see or hear of him for the next three years, but I prayed for him off and on when I saw the paper on the wall by the phone ‑‑ which helped me remember his name. The spring I turned 16, I finally went through puberty. About time! That summer I signed on to be a counselor and lifeguard at a Child Evangelical Fellowship Bible Camp.

Guess who was there? You got it. My future husband, Mr. King in Charge, the famous preacher man himself. He was the special speaker all week, so I had plenty of time to check him out. All the time I was checking him out, he was checking out one of the other girls at the camp. I didn’t really care, as I had no emotional attachment to him.

While I was there, one of the older women who was a head counselor came to me, and said she thought God had spoken to her about something. She was a sober woman, a Baptist. Again, Baptists do not put words in God’s mouth, yet she said, “I think God wants you to know that Michael Pearl will someday be your husband.”

It was embarrassing for one of my mom’s friends [laughs] to tell me something like that. I went home and told my mom, but her friend had already called her and informed her. Without a trace of emotion, mom reminded me to pray for the preacher. She told me, “He will need a lot of prayer, because he is in the ministry. You need to pray for him all the time.”

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Announcer:  Thank you for listening to this excerpt from Preparing to be a Helpmate. As always, remember to check for specials on this and other audio books on our website.

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